A wedding is always a special reason for a commission and often it’s dogs I’m painting as gifts on a wedding day.  Shadow and Lucy belong to my client’s new husband who adores them.  She thought this would make the perfect wedding gift to him and I hope he has loved the surprise.  I came out and met Shadow and Lucy for a bit of a photoshoot on a lovely bright morning recently.  It’s always fun when you’re trying to keep a surprise hush hush and apparently my car just missed him leaving the house after several delays in trying to get him out for a while without knowing!  But I got in, met this couple of big friendly playful German Shepherds , and photographed them posing lovely in the garden.  I hope the painting captures them both and is treasured by the family for many years.

ShadowLucyPreviewThe finished painting is 18″x14″ soft pastel.

20160318_164552My line drawing on the light grey velour and I’m working in the background.  I want to keep it very plain and just have a hint of the grass coming into focus in the foreground.  The lighting on the day I photographed was lovely and hazy so this will work well.

20160318_195148Starting on Shadow’s face and it’s quite fiddly as on this scale their heads are quite small.  It takes all my smallest shards of the big pastels to produce fur on this scale.  I use a good sharp pastel pencil for the tiny detail in the eyes.

20160318_221139You can see from this piece of pastel how useful a broken stick can be.  This piece has so many useful corners!

20160318_22442120160319_131309Using the Faber Castell black stick for some of the really darkest areas.  It also has good square corners for this job.

20160319_143121I always find I can use a harder pastel to get the darks but to get really light colours there is just no beating the softer pastels like Unison.  This is a tiny shard of a Unison stick.  They are great as they don’t immediatly crumble in your fingertips and you can make use of pieces as small as you’re able to hold!

20160319_14465620160320_162812Shadow pretty much done now and that grass brought up in front of him to give me a sense of weight in the picture.

20160320_203752Lucy is so unusual looking and I love her rich dark colours.  I’m using lots of dark navy tones along with the black and blues.  There is also some hint of orange there too as she has a very warm coloured dark coat.

20160320_220652I make use of some pastel pencil to drag the finest hairs out at the edges.

20160321_174723Working my way down Shadow’s coat which is so thick and has a life of it’s own!  She just looked so cuddly!


20160407_132727The finished piece framed with a double mount with space between to allow for any pastel dust.  A piece like this will remain how it is for many lifetimes if cared for with a gentle touch.  Once it’s in the frame you want to avoid hard knocks or lying them glass down.  This is basic care for any pastel but when framed well they are preserved forever.

Thanks for visiting my blog!  If you’re interested in finding out how to commission a piece have a look on my Pricing tab where you’ll find some info.